Photo: CAREER in beta
The future of work is changing, and only those who adapt will survive. The trends that define this new era of work are entrepreneurialism, flexibility and innovation.Kyle Westaway, a Harvard lecturer, attorney and thought leader, outlined these ideas succinctly in a PowerPoint presentation, which he shared in Las Vegas at Tony Hsieh’s inaugural Speakers’ Series. (Hsieh, who is CEO of Zappos, is investing $350 million to transform Vegas; a cornerstone of his initiative is bringing in creative minds from around the country to share their ideas.)
In his presentation, Westaway included a chart inspired by Google’s 70-20-10 model for innovation. He says everyone should use this chart as a career roadmap, devoting 70 per cent of their time to their core competency, 20 per cent on related projects, and 10 per cent to learning new skills and working on side projects.
“Kill your core career competency,” says Westaway, who launched Westaway Law for social entrepreneurs two years ago. “You need to earn trust in a big organisation. You need to earn the trust of clients, and you earn that by constantly delivering and overdelivering. That is first and foremost what you’ve been hired to do. If you are able to do that, you have leverage to add to your portfolio of skills.”
And that’s where the 20 per cent comes in, which often involves pursuing peripheral projects within a company. For example, one of Nike’s most popular products started out as a “side project” sitting on an employee’s desk, he says. “The CEO happen to stop by, and now that shoe is a billion-dollar line for them.”
And as for the last 10 per cent, push yourself to learn something entirely new, says Westaway. “Doing this builds your skills, your process for problem solving, and your relational capital. Find the things you can experiment on that are low risk.” He gives a personal example: after Hurricane Sandy, he co-launched #nycvolunteerathon by building a hashtag and a website, and relying on social media to get the word out. “It was a one-day project,” he says. “We sent 400 people to the Rockaways and Staten Island, working with organisations who could absorb all the volunteers. I was intrigued to see if we could pull it off and mobilize a bunch of people really quickly. We just got a few key people tweeting, driving all this traffic. It was like a hackathon.”
Developing a meaningful career is all about spending your time and energy wisely, and knowing when to say “no.” That way, you always make time for “homerun projects,” he says.
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